Ongoing availability issues are affecting the in-store promotions on offer in symbol group shops, leading to customer complaints, retailers have said.

A number of retailers told betterRetailing they were unable to fulfil certain deals in recent promotional cycles in recent weeks.

One Booker retailer, who asked not to be named, said: “Every wholesaler has been experiencing availability issues and Booker cancelled promotional allocations in the previous cycle as it needed to ensure availability across the network, which was understandable.

“The allocations have begun again, but I’m going to wait and see whether the availability will be there. I’m lucky that I’ve got accounts with other wholesalers, so I can help fill the gaps or find other products on a deal.

“It’s either that or filling the empty spaces with other products. It’s better to have a shop that’s full of stock rather than one that looks empty. I’ve definitely had customers notice this and they’ve had an issue with it.”

Another Booker retailer reported issues with being unable to run in-store promotions on staples such as bread and milk. One Nisa retailer added there had been ongoing issues with frozen promotions over the year. “We stopped running promotions because we couldn’t rely on the stock getting through,” they added.

Another said: “Sometimes you just have to bear the brunt. It’s not a good idea to find substitutes from alternative suppliers. They might not be on promotion and it reduces the overall margin you make.”

Parfetts’ head of marketing, Jamie Ferguson, said: “Availability has been an industry issue across a number of categories over the past year. “Parfetts mitigates the impact by working closely with suppliers to understand the pressures and design promotional structures to minimise issues.

“We plan to ensure our retailers can shop our promotions wherever possible. We are flexible in how we work, and agile enough to make changes to structures in most cases. Of course, the situation isn’t always perfect, but we work very hard to minimise issues.”

A spokesperson from Nisa added: “We are in constant communication with our suppliers to help mitigate the impact of the global supply issues everyone is facing.

“We appreciate the disruption this can cause and we are issuing frequent communications, substitutions and alternative products to our customers, where possible.”